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Bonneville 2014 Race Report

A Year of the Strange and Wonderful

By Bandit with photos by Wrench

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I woke up this morning, five days after the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials ended, with a start. How the hell was I going to write this article? I couldn’t figure it out. I didn’t know where to start or how to couch all the action and obstacles.

I knew how it was going to end! I knew the learning process. I knew about the fun on the salt, the wicked weather, and the abject camaraderie we experienced. Racing on the salt is tantamount to shipping a motorcycle to the moon for a speed test, but I need to back up.

I’ve looked at salt racing as a new creative motorcycle-building pallet. Over the years, I’ve built baggers, choppers, and bobbers, but Bonneville presented us creative sorts with a new and highly stimulating format for the motorcyclist, custom soul to latch onto. I was faced with the ultimately cool, aerodynamic, art deco, super-sleek platform. I went at this new creative venture like a nut with a new girlfriend. I was having a blast.

I was working with Nolan Helmets from Biker's Choice on a helmet for myself and our Trike. George, the Wild Brush, made them official 5-Ball gear.
I was working with Nolan Helmets from Biker's Choice on a helmet for myself and our Trike. George, the Wild Brush, made them official 5-Ball gear.

At 64 years of age, unlike a seasoned veteran such as Wink Eller, I was just beginning to learn the ropes. I had some experience with salt flat racing by being a minor team member on the Easyriders team. We held the World Land Speed Record of 321 mph for 16 years. I returned in 2006 and stumbled into a record with our Accurate Engineering 120-inch Panhead with a top speed of 152 mph. The next year during extremely bad salt conditions, we returned with another 120-inch Panhead, never pressed the nitrous button, with Valerie Thompson at the helm and set another record with a top speed of 162 mph. Not bad for a Panhead. With Tim Remus, of Wolfgang Publishing, we wrote a book about the effort, which is still available and helps lots of riders learn many of the ropes.

Then we stumbled. My girl ran off with a sailor, and my workload doubled. Barry Wardlaw’s son died and he forgot to send me a new set of rings, but I kept building. I stumbled into a 1940 45 flathead basket case for a small bag of gold, and Lee Clemens, from Departure Bike Works, took on the performance flathead project, our first major mistake. And I apologize for this aspect of the effort. I’m an old outlaw. I like the creative endeavor and dislike rules. Screw the rules, build something sleek and then find a class, sorta like rolling a fresh set of dice on Wendover crap tables.

We needed a chin pad for Tobey during a run and stuck with a Biltwell P-pad, a classic.
We needed a chin pad for Tobey during a run and stuck with a Biltwell P-pad, a classic.

That doesn’t work. You need to study the rulebooks first. There are actually three, the AMA, the FIM, and the SCTA sanctioning bodies. They all outline their rules and their racing regs. I glanced at the AMA rules, since we always supported Dennis Manning and his family effort to create a motorcycle-only venue for Land Speed Racing.

I’m going to cut to the chase, so the report gets underway and I don’t sound like a sniveling fool. So we stumbled for a couple of years and set no records, but we built the coolest 1926 Peashooter in the World, then we built the fastest, second gear, 45 flathead on the planet in the no-class, run-whatcha-brung class. It did 70 mph in second gear, but never climbed back onto the cam for third, fourth, and fifth gears. We were sure we had something, but I over-geared the first attempt.

Of course, working with vintage shit also presents interesting challenges. We should have brought the Assalt Weapan Panhead back to the salt, but that’s another story. The Bonne Belle was this year's pick for the salt, and what a pick.

This bike is fascinating in so many respects. One of these days, we will straighten out all the mechanical woes, learn the classes, and this puppy with stand tall in the record books. We can’t give up. I thought I had the class worked out, but a side valve motor is not a pushrod engine--duh. Plus you can’t significantly modify a vintage engine and run in any vintage class. That was my downfall, so we were forced to run our beauty in the Run Whatcha Brung class. Now we are looking for a vintage WR or WLDR motor to replace the classic K-model magnum. Then we will be ready to fight it out in about four AMA classes. We have a serious shot.

Get this. We ran into a big guy straddling a BSA single in a stock frame. He has set three World Land Speed Records and never rolled over 50 mph.

Let’s start with the positive aspects of the 750 Bonne Belle. I was building it like crazy in a stock single-loop H-D flathead frame when Ron at Paughco developed a 45-life-saving frame allowing flathead motors to be mated to 4 and 5-speed transmissions. Dave Perewitz recognized the significant attributes of this chassis and immediately built a custom.

Ron’s frames allow 45 engines to come out of the dusty closet and stand tall on city streets all over the world. I recognized the gearing significance and ordered a stretched and raked version for our Bonneville effort. Lee Clemens supplied a used Softail 5-speed transmission and I went to work reconfiguring the Bonne Belle for better gearing and amazing top speeds. On the salt, a 750 Triumph partially streamlined motorcycle runs over 203 mph, a 50 cc Kreidler from the ‘60s, also partially streamlined, does 98 mph. In other words, anything is possible.

I carefully mated a BDL belt primary system to the Softail transmission and Lee machined the inner primary for a more secure fit to the engine. It works like a champ. Lee managed a Pro-Stock drag racing team for 25 years, so he removed our stock Spyke electric starter for a lighter drive line and added a socket for spinning the engine over with an external starter powered by a car battery. He didn’t understand the notion about weight and traction on the salt.

The external starter posed cumbersome issues and we will replace the Spyke starter for the next year. Lee also yanked my narrow, modified bars off the Bonne Belle and replaced them with wider, wind-catching, yet easily maneuverable bars. They need to be replaced.

The last modification caused the most heartburn, the Pingel electric shifter. But let’s get started. I picked up the Bonne Belle in Sturgis from Lee Clemens and headed back to Los Angeles with a primary list of to-dos from Lee on my mind, plus a few extras.

Tobey was going to straddle the bike and I would indicate where the new pegs would be positioned. Lee eliminated my rear brake pedal and straps from the frame. I would also position the bars to fit our 5-Ball jockey’s lithe form.

I needed to find a new battery and wire the Pingel electric shifter. I bought a standard battery from Warner electric, and charged it with an Xtreme charger, but I was nervous about the system and I asked Ray about Shorai batteries, but he couldn’t help. I kept the option in the back of my mind as we drew closer to departure time. I wanted to make sure I had enough cranking amps. My standard battery put out just over 100 cranking amps.

I needed to add another strip of fire-proof lining over my bottom gas line to the carb. I adjusted the bars to fit Tobey, then realigned the levers to prevent wind drag. I looked for anything that might drag in the wind. Anything in the wind causes horsepower to be depleted. Lee was making and shipping the foot pegs to the Bikernet/5-Ball Racing headquarters. We had less than a week for final preparations.

We started to set out plastic containers and I reviewed my list of tools needed from 2012. And I thought about my Kendon Lift. Where was it? I walked into the yard where it was generally stowed, and it was gone. I called Ray, our esteemed performance editor. He thought Willy, his master mechanic, had it—nope. Then I thought of Buster Cates who bought our Amazing Shrunken FXR. He worked for West Coast Choppers until he couldn’t stand it, then shifted to Saddlemen, and more recently went to work for Gard Hollinger at ARCH motorcycles.

I need a clipboard in the shop for loaners. I’ve said that 100 times, but we still don’t have one. I loan shit all the time, and poof it’s gone. Buster had it, so I went after it. The memory isn’t completely shot. This time, we packed a hacksaw and battery-powered drill and screw gun, very handy. We made sure to pack tie-wraps, safety wire, Loctite, and wire tools.

I serviced the Bikernet Van and we reached out to Frank Eposito, the president of Kendon, and asked about servicing the Kendon three-bike trailer. He sent me a complete list of how-to service it, grease the wheels, air pressure for the tires, etc. Very helpful. Their trailers work like a champ.

We were down to a couple of days before departure and Tobey called. “I don’t know if my helmet will pass tech.”

The very next day, Ron Benfield dropped me a line. “I just went to work for Schuberth Helmets. They want to expand their reach in the American cruiser market, can you help?” Can a bear shit in the woods? Of course we could help, and we had an opportunity with Tobey to test a new Schuberth full-faced racing helmet.

The next day, a lovely representative from Schuberth, Sarah Schilke, rolled up to the headquarters and we found out Valerie Thompson also uses Schuberth helmets. Toby tried on several sizes and decided on the proper size for an S-1 full-face racing model. Sarah made arrangements to ship the helmet to Bonneville. We were another step closer.

We had one day remaining before we rolled toward the salt. Life is full of twists and turns, and staying flexible is a crucial benefit. We didn’t know exactly who might go and who wouldn’t. We discussed the pilot position with two other potential riders. They didn’t pan out. Tobey stayed on track and was excited about his new Schuberth helmet. They are very high quality German lids.

Tobey lives on a rusting steel sloop. He’s a certified welder working long hours generally on oil rigs around the port. He could be called to Bakersfield on a moment’s notice. Then Kyle, the young Bikernet electrician, popped onto the scene. He’s had some issues with a broad and needed to shine some fresh rays on his brain cells. A run to Bonneville could shift his thinking. He could have been a major help for Ray as a crewmember.

Tobey showed up at the shop around 7:00 p.m. The Bikernet news saw completion and I was packing with the help of Kyle. I tried to move slowly and without pressure, so my brain cells could work overtime, trying to think of every possible thing we might need. We packed a cooler, some ice, and the lovely Nyla supplied snacks, yogurts, and drinks.

A poster at the Black and White bar in Wendover of a belly tank racer. We are going to follow in those traditional foot steps.
A poster at the Black and White bar in Wendover of a belly tank racer. We are going to follow in those traditional foot steps.

I looked over at Tobey and he had a sort of forlorn look on his face. “Someone stole my racing leathers,” he said and lit a Canadian cigarette.

I didn’t know whether to panic or not. Tobey lives on his boat, but has about three vehicles parked in the marina parking lot. Each one is stuffed with clothes and welding equipment. They’ve been broken into several times, so the locks no longer work. I don’t know how he knows where anything is?

“But I had a spare set of leathers, from the old days, and I bought a new pair of boots.” Relief filled the air. “But we need to swing by the Marina to pick up my shit.”

We loaded the serviced Kendon Lift, and all the gear we could think of. Here’s the initial list, plus we packed a clipboard for a race checklist and additional notes during the event. It’s astounding how folks avoid making notes. A brother mentioned the helpful process the other day. “The actual notion or physical activity of making notes enhances my memory.”


Kendon Lift
Safety Wire
Case of yogurts
Case of protein bars
Kangen water
Safety wire tools
Tools, lots of them
Extra chains
Fuel containers
Battery Tender
Sponsor banners
Extension cords

This brother had a hopped-up vintage Indian classic.
This brother had a hopped-up vintage Indian classic.

We rolled about 9:00 p.m. and blasted toward the border at 60 mph. We stopped in Baker, California, a desert burg. Its only claim to fame is a three-story high thermometer-posting temps above 100. Baker is the last stopover between Barstow and state line. It’s all gas stations, jerky joints, Subways, but it didn’t look healthy. The 30-year-old Bob’s Big Boy in the center of town stood with flaking paint all boarded up. The once lively Olive Garden restaurant was knocked down to an empty Denny’s restaurant. The daily roasted franchise community looked bleak. We gassed up and cut a dusty trail out of town. Towns like this make me nervous about the economy.

As soon as we arrived in Prim, Nevada, we pulled off at Whiskey Pete’s through the remnants of flash flooding. It was about 3:00 in the morning. There was one clerk at the reception desk. I stood there almost a half hour while she struggled with the previous customer. We grabbed a room so we could keep an eye on our rig during the short 4 or 5 hours we would sleep, before hitting the road again. Whiskey Pete’s continues to feel the pangs of age and bank ownership. It’s very rough around the edges.

It’s Winks mantra during runs to the Salt to get the hell out of town, if only a few hundred miles. It’s about 225 miles to Prim from Los Angeles.

We were up around 9:00 and on the road to racing paradise. After Vegas, we cut to Highway 93 up the Great Basin, a beautiful road slicing about two hours off the run to Salt Lake. I like to avoid city traffic whenever possible.

As we rolled north on Highway 93 toward Ely, the weather changed with dark clouds looming everywhere. It started to rain.

“That’s Bonneville,” Tobey said, pointing at the clouds in the distance. The rain smacked us hard on our way through the last valley before we came over the final rise into Wendover, Utah/Nevada. And so the fun would begin Saturday morning.

It rained as we arrived in Wendover. We suspected the worse, so slept in, then moseyed toward the salt. It didn’t look good as we approached the boat landing area and rolled into line. We were in line a couple of hours, as it slowly inched forward.

The boat landing at the end of a three-mile asphalt road extending out into the salt is sorta like a pier on the moon surrounded by a soft looking white surface containing very little vegetation. In fact, the only plant life is trying desperately to survive on the edge of the asphalt. Wherever there is a patch of dirt, plants attempt to grow and hold their delicate roots back from the evil salt. We were finally given the go-ahead to creep into a shallow lake.

We could see the pits in the heat wave drifting off the salt. They looked to be a part of a small island five miles in the distance. Between them and the boat landing was a lake of rippling water reflecting the brilliant sun and blue sky. For the newbie, this could be an imposing task. How deep could it be?

We were given specific instructions, but we could tell other guys, just wanted to take the shortest route to high ground. At less than 10 mph, we slipped off the boat ramp into the salty brine. At one time, I was told the flats encompassed 65 square miles of salt. The salt is basically a hard layer of brine over a water table, sometimes six inches below the surface. Consequently, it could be raining in the hills 10 miles away, and the water level will rise on the flats.

Some very quirky iron on the salt.
Some very quirky iron on the salt.

For the next week, every day the water table changed, and we were given various instructions on how to deal with it. The son of Dennis Manning congratulated us on how we handled our water crossings. Any wake from a vehicle disturbs salt surface conditions. At least we did something right…

We arrived and Ray C. Wheeler was way ahead of day with the pit area selected and set up. We unloaded and I prepared to get in line for registration. I stood in one line and then was told I was in the pre-registration line and had to shift. I got in another line for another hour and then was told to fill out some forms. I did, but that put me at the back of the line again. This turned into a 3-hour process and cost me $800.

There was one uninformed lady who kindly attempted to keep the customers calm. I was working on my ability to understand and accept issues such as these. Some folks handled them better than others. I’m reading a book about the right path. It’s helps me stay centered on the right way to handle anything and not go nuts.

Bonneville is a series of tests. First, you need to build a bike, then build a team and a rig full of shit and make it to the flats. Then you need to pass registration. You can pre-register and save money, but most were afraid to step up and roll the dice on the weather.

Then there’s the safety inspection. We unloaded the Bonne Belle and pushed it to the inspection station. Drew Gatewood waited with several inspectors. Fortunately, we didn’t need to wait very long in line. Drew pointed out my class mistake. I slipped the Bonne Belle in a Pushrod class, and side valves are considered to have tappets, not pushrods.

Micah McCloskey, who was one of the ER crew members when we set the record, and Johnny, who read my book, bought a drag bike chassis and came to Bonneville.
Micah McCloskey, who was one of the ER crew members when we set the record, and Johnny, who read my book, bought a drag bike chassis and came to Bonneville.

I previously discovered the issue with modifying the engine and took the BB out of the vintage class, which screwed the pooch. I was now in a straight 750 class up against new Triumphs or Jap bikes. I had to run in the Run Whatcha Brung class. I felt like shit, but ultimately it worked out—not great, but we learned.

The inspectors were cool and easy to work with and communicated well. We had a small issue with one safety wire, and dealt with it. Fuel was the next issue and we rolled into another daunting line, which grabbed about 2.5 hours waiting, but we didn’t need to wait. We could purchase fuel anywhere, because we were not running in a sealed gas tank class, but we did save Ray the anguish of kickin’ it in line and brought him 5 gallons of high test turbo fuel.

That about wrapped up the day and I had to drive 100 miles to the Salt Lake Airport and pick up Lee Clemens from Departure Bike Works. I don’t believe anyone made passes on Saturday. The Manning team was dragging the salt for the best conditions and hoping the water level would decrease, dry, and make for a solid surface.

The next morning, we waded out to the pit area, finished drilling the engine drain plug for a safety wire, and returned for final inspection. One inspector wanted to pick on our steering damper. You can’t have a steering damper acting as a fork stop. I had fork stops, but the steering damper bottomed on both ends just as the forks hit the stops. This inspector didn’t like the close call.

This turned into one of those communication efforts. Another inspector took over and offered a solution, but Lee didn’t understand what he was trying to say and a debate began. We worked it out and received out certs and were ready to rock.

We started to work on the Pingel electric shifter. Fortunately, over the next couple of days, Donna and Wayne Pingel were on hand. We chased wires, then maybe discovered that the frame ground I added could have been a factor. Then we discovered that I installed longer switch fasteners to prevent damage to the aluminum threads. They might have grounded the switch. Whatever the ailments, we sorted them out to have solid electrical shifting.

We discovered some other quirky aspects, including if the voltage source drops below 10.8 volts, it won’t shift. And if the solenoid isn’t mounted so it can pivot with the arch of the shifter, it might not work. Also, the throw must be arranged so the arm doesn’t bottom either up or down shifting. Lee stressed over the shifter, so when we finally had it working, we took the rest of the evening off, but made specific preparations for the next morning. All the batteries would be charged. Everything was working properly; we were ready for a test run. I had backed our play and bought a Shorai battery. It was smaller than the standard battery, contained 200 cranking amps, and was light as a feather. Amazing!

We had to keep salt and water off the terminals.
We had to keep salt and water off the terminals.

During a test firing, we discovered crap in the gas. A Mikuni carb is sensitive to anything in the gas and will let you know by spewing gas all over the place from its vent hose. We took the Mikuni carb apart. Somewhere along the line, we ran race fuel in the tank and it coated the float bowl.

With the carb cleaned, we dropped the bike off the handy Kendon lift and decided to make a run as a test pass, not on the track but just past the pits.

We loaded the Bonne Belle on the trailer. Loaded the starter, the car battery, assorted tools and jumped in the van. This brings up the run checklist, and I created one, but someone had made off with our clipboard.

This small can of fasteners saved the day several times.
This small can of fasteners saved the day several times.

Run list:
Check Fuel Level
Check oil levels
Gas on
Unplug shifter until ready
Charge batteries
Take photos
Starter dolly

If you have a team, this assignment needs to be made by someone who doesn’t have major responsibilities, because it is a major responsibility, and you don’t want to overload a hardworking crewmember.

Toby made a short run and we discovered oil issues, and the Pingel shifter wasn’t working very well. Later, we learned another quirk to the shifting system. It needs to be used on a bike while ridden hard. No messing around or letting off the gas, just nail it and hit the button. It also has an initiating sequence. We needed to hold one of the buttons down for five seconds before it works. It begs the question: Is it initiated for the duration or does it turn itself off?

We rolled outside the pit area less than a 1/8 of a mile, where we unloaded the bike and Tobey tooled around. Then we loaded up and returned to the pits. On the way back someone hollered and we stopped. Our massive, Mercedes car battery had escaped to bump onto the salt and take out a corner of the battery. It was toast. Our loading ramp also escaped, but after a couple of search parties scoured the area, I found it hiding in the salt.

We jammed to town, bought an Interstate battery but the day was toast.

The next morning, we hit the salt early and prepared for a pass. We were having issues with the starter and removed the inner primary for inspection. We opened the hole for the massive starter socket and spaced the primary a hair. A major benefit of Bonneville is the camaraderie. Everyone helps everyone. S&S fed the crews lunch every day and brought a ton of tools, including welders and parts. Everyone wants to see the next guy make a pass. We only had a couple of days left.

Hiro made passes with his 135-inch JIMS engine, similar to the engine we plan to run in our streamlined trike.
Hiro made passes with his 135-inch JIMS engine, similar to the engine we plan to run in our streamlined trike.

I want to say about 2:00 we loaded the Bonne Belle for a serious pass on the salt and made our way to the staging line in the blistering sun. We waited a couple of hours, and then out of nowhere the wind kicked up and the race was shut down. On the way back to town, off the landing strip road was bleak gas station with the Salt Flats Café attached. This is mostly a big rig station, but adjacent to it, almost in the salt, a family of guys set up their barbecue cooking facility.

For the rest of the week, we ate each dinner at the good ‘ol boys mobile barbecue. Damn, the food was tasty, and Valerie Thompson shared a table with the 5-Ball team a couple of times. “I can’t seem to beat my 203 mph mark,” Valerie said of her top speed. It rained Tuesday night, but we were told to be at the line at 7:00 a.m. to retain our position. Up at 5:00 a.m. we hit the coffee shop for coffee and a yogurt and cut a dusty, salt strewn trail to the flats. The water level was super high and into the pits. Here’s what keeps a lot of us going during tough times. Remember: When the going get’s tough, the tough get going.

The day after the heavy winds and rain, our pits were toast.
The day after the heavy winds and rain, our pits were toast.

The morning riders’ meeting announced no racing, but a chance at 1:00 p.m. Our pit area was destroyed by the winds and rain. We rescued scattered tools and gear and tried to make the best of the disaster. Once more, we waded into town.

Even this tiny motorcycle from the '60s sets records.
Even this tiny motorcycle from the '60s sets records.

We returned at 1:00 but the news was no better. Racing was shut down for the rest of the day. We had just one day remaining in the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials. By now, the team was well oiled, adjusted and ready for anything. The young member, Kyle, had a toothache and a mom who needed his help at home. He peeled out.

We were up at 5:00 and on line at 7:20. After an hour, we moved to the staging position at mile one. Our number was finally called; we fired the Bonne Belle to life and rolled onto the salt right about 9:30.

Tobey poured the coals to the Bonne Belle, but she popped, he hit 2nd gear and she did the same, he rolled into 3rd gear and attempted to pour more fuel to the Mikuni carb, then pop. Something metal-to- metal snapped and Tobey coasted off the course.

It was terrific to see some very cool FXRs on the salt.
It was terrific to see some very cool FXRs on the salt.

Here’s some stanzas from a Robert Service Poem called The Call of the Wild:

ROBERT SERVICE POEM STANZAS—Have you broken trail on snowshoes? Mushed your huskies up the river,
Dared the unknown, led the way, and clutched the prize:
Have you marked the map’s void spaces, mingled with the mongrel races,
Felt the savage strength of brute in every thew?

And though grim as hell the worst is, can you round it off with curses?
Then hearken to the Wild—it’s wanting you.

Have you suffered, starved and triumphed, groveled down, yet grasped at glory,
Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole?
“Done things” just for the doing, letting babblers tell the story,
Seeing though the nice veneer of the naked soul?
Have you seen God in his splendors, heard the text that nature renders?

(You’ll never hear it in the family pew.)

The simple things, the true things, the silent men who do
Then listen to the Wild—it’s calling you,

--Robert Service

We immediately jammed to his rescue. Lee quizzed our pilot as I began the loading process. The pressure was on. We wanted one successful pass before we left Bonneville.
We returned to the pits, loaded the Bonne Belle onto the lift, yanked off the BDL primary case and discovered the noise. An inner primary bolt came lose, bounced out and damaged the belt. We started to look for a replacement BDL belt, but the replacement time would become a factor. Two thirds of the belt was still intact. We would go with it, but we had to do something about the lean condition. We could change the position of the Mikuni main needle, and we needed to open the gas cap venting. Something was causing the lean condition.

We discussed our next move with Wink Eller.

Lee fixed the primary. Tobey and I modified the gas cap, and I started to operate on the Mikuni Carb. It was harried and hot on the salt and we were burning daylight. The salt use license with the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) called for shutting down on Thursday at 4:00 no matter what. We fought the Mikuni, a clip ring kept escaping, but we finally got the carb back in one piece and installed. We fired it to life as a test and peeled back to the initial staging area. It was 2:00, but the official wouldn’t take our name. We waited nervously.

An hour passed and we suspected a shut down, and then suddenly we were called to roll to the mile 1 one staging position. Five other bikes were waiting with us, as the officials announced a couple of return passes. We waited. At 3:45, one of our group was called to the line and the green flag was dropped. A 1946 classic open-bike Indian moved into position for a pass. Then the walkie-talkie discussions between the staff became heated. The clock struck 4:00 and the track was closed. Another year gone.

Tobey always finds the girl, and in this case the president of Stripper Juice cleaner and polish.
Tobey always finds the girl, and in this case the president of Stripper Juice cleaner and polish.

Sure, we were disappointed but we had a blast, helped brothers, learned during every minute on the salt. I finally got the classes nailed for the Bonne Bell, and we went on the search for a WR or WLDR engine. With a stock engine in place with only internal modifications, we can run at the following Vintage classes.

750 APSVG 108mph
750 APSVF 113mph
750 A (open) VF 99 mph
750 AVG 101 mph

A-Special Construction open
PS-Partial Streamlining
V-Vintage pre-56

Our pit bike to be, a 1968 125cc Rapido.
Our pit bike to be, a 1968 125cc Rapido.

Lee is going after some 350cc records with a ‘60s Harley Sprint. We are going to work on our 1968 125 cc Rapido pit bike. I need to find a manual. We are going to dig around and find an 18-foot trailer to carry our team to the salt in style.

And, of course the daddy of daddy’s. Kent Weeks is working hard on the first streamlined trike powered by a JIMS driveline. Hang on for future reports.



Departure Bike Works
Click on the banner for more info.
Click on the banner for more info.


Mikuni Carburetors

Biker’s Choice

Performance Machine


Avon Tyres
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Click here to find a dealer


Envy Cycle

D&D Exhaust

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Click for website

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Reader Comments

I absolutely love the story of your journey to and on the salt- the poem by Robert Service for me was a great highlight into the adventure . Preparation and rules are the same part that frustrate me but as I learned it's all a test if patience strength and resolve so really YOU SET A RECORD- maybe not on the salt this year but definately in the strategy and game for the future.

Great job great story and I can give you my guy for anything you need he is a great part of any team. Let me know as I loan him out to close friends for real stuff... Motorcycle work only - the rest is mine exclusively! If it weren't for him the Chopper Chick Crew Live Builds would never have happened. He has also been crew chief for a race team ( Ducati Racer).

Really enjoyed reading this love to you Ms. Nyla and all the crew there in Cali

Love always

Athena Chickie Ransom
Pompano beach, FL
Friday, September 12, 2014
Editor Response Means a lot. We questioned everything we did this year and stumbled badly, but kept up the fight. Next year we should rock the world, if I can afford it. Thanks much!
Very nice story! Hope you build more for next year, and we all have the best salt in years.

Over and Out

Drew Gatewood
Chesterton, IN
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Editor Response We will be back, more prepared, with the Bonne Belle and a new engine, a 350 classic sprint, and hopefully our Belly Tank trike. We fired Bandit as the crew chief and sent him back to school...

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